This bayfront is a rare bargain … if you can, BUY it!

June 20, 2009

Boatable waterfront property, generally speaking, is priced according to the type of water access/water view it provides.

A salt-water canal with enough water to float a fair-sized outboard powerboat can be pretty affordable. You can get started for under $200,000, depending largely on boating distance from the Gulf — expect a fairly long run of 6-8 miles at that price; the closer to the Gulf, the more it costs.  Expect a narrow strip of water with a view of your neighbor’s dock and back porch across the canal.

The price goes up after that, if:

  1. the canal is broad, or better yet, a natural bayou that gives you a little space between you and your neighbors;
  2. the lot sits out at the juction of two canals on a corner or a peninsula that gives a broader view yet;
  3. the lot has a view of undevelopable wetlands or a preserves; or
  4. the lot has frontage on open water, like a bay. These can run close to a million and go up from there, depending on dozens of variables.

I have stumbled across a foreclosure home that is extraordinary in its location, and it will likely list for less than a million dollars. Assuming some flexibility on the part of the bank that owns it, it may sell for $700-800k … and it is REMARKABLE. Buy it if you can!

It sits on a corner lot of a half-acre between Terra Ceia Bay and a canal, so it has both a stellar open-water view AND 2 more protected slips (one with a boat house — rare!) up the canal. The house has roll-down hurricane shutters, a gorgeous pool, and lots of space (4 bedrooms, 3600 SF). Oh, and the Gulf is about 10 minutes’ run from the dock!

Here is a video of the view (8 more are on, just click here to see them all):

If you, or anyone you know, is in the market for a wonderful piece of boating property, contact me right away. I’ve looked at every other property for sale on Snead Island and this one is unmatched in its class. It is not yet on the market, but when it comes up for sale, I think it will sell FAST.

Can I use my 401(k) or IRA to invest in real estate?

February 10, 2009

When you invest in real estate, you do so to make money – and making money means paying taxes.

Fortunately, there exist a variety of legal structures that allow one to avoid or reduce taxation on investments – and investments can include real estate. Today our office hosted a training by Scott Maurer of the Entrust Group on the topic of investing in real estate within one’s IRA or 401(k) retirement account.

As you already no doubt know, these types of retirement plans offer a variety of tax benefits that make them attractive for investments that are anticipated to produce either current income, appreciation, or both (and what investment isn’t anticipated to do at least one of those things?!?).

The training was fantastic. There is a great deal more flexibility than I had previously thought. And at the same time, it requires a lot of care to avoid mistakes that could trigger some pretty costly penalties. Fortunately, setting up and administering these investments is exactly what Entrust does. They do it well and they do it at modest cost.

For example, if your IRA or 401(k) doesn’t have enough money to buy an investment property, no problem. You can “partner” your retirement funds with ordinary funds (yours or another partner’s) or with another person’s retirement funds (your spouse’s, for example) – as long as the records are handled correctly.

On the other hand … want to rent that investment property to a son or daughter? Or use that vacation rental yourself a few weeks out of the year? That WOULD be a problem – IRS rules do not allow any personal benefit or dealing with lineal family members. Making that mistake could disqualify the whole investment, triggering back taxes and penalties., 800-425-0653 for more information.

Can I move that tree? Or not?

February 9, 2009

You say you have the perfect place for that new home or addition? But there is a big tree right in the way — will the powers that be let you remove it?

It is generally no problem — with the exception of so-called “Grand Trees.” What are those? Any oak that has a 24-inch Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) will be considered a Grand Tree. These can be a problem to remove!

Better check with the authorities before you make an offer! Most anything Read the rest of this entry »

FL Supreme Court decision affects beach front property owners

January 26, 2009

Imagine that you own a beachfront property on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. Your seaward property line is defined as the Erosion Control Line … which means your land has contact with the Gulf.

Along comes the government with a beach renourishment project which adds tons of sand, effectively pushing the water’s edge back and cutting off your property’s contact with the water.

Can the government do that? The Supreme Court said they can!

For details, go to the website of Attorney David Levin, waterfront specialist, at, and click on “Newsletter.” There you’ll find David’s comments as well as a link to the complete text of the decision.

Many thanks to David Levin’s office for bringing this to the attention of all of us with an interest in waterfront property!

This costly mistake could have been avoided!

January 19, 2009

Just before the holidays, I attended a seminar given by David Levin, prominent local attorney specializing in waterfront property transactions. Entitled “Red Flags on the Waterfront,” it outlined some of the things Realtors should watch out for as they assist their clients in buying and selling.

Many possible pitfalls await the unwary buyer.

Now, regarding making changes to a  property after you’ve bought it, you would certainly expect to have to comply with all regulations and get permits and Read the rest of this entry »

“How much will my property taxes be?”

January 16, 2009

“How much are my property taxes going to be?”

This is a question we constantly get from our real estate clients. It’s a reasonable question – property taxes are a factor in the operating cost of any property.

To get the answer, I attended a forum featuring the newly-elected Sarasota County Property Appraiser, Read the rest of this entry »

How to talk to people

January 15, 2009

First, the numbers: It’s about 11 pm, the temperature here is about 54 degrees, low tide was just a few minutes ago, and the next high will be at 3:47 am. Regular gas is about 1.87 a gallon. says it will get down to about 38 degrees tonight, which is COLD for here! Number of days since I was last out on the boat: 4. 

My wife Cynthia were talking a few minutes ago about how to talk to people when you feel intimidated by their wealth, their social standing, etc — especially when there is a lot on the line (the potential for a large real estate transaction, say). Read the rest of this entry »